Just a Minute with Bill Mann, Owner and President of Laser Tag Adventure Inc. and Corporate Technology SOlutions (CTS) inc.

Company address: 1814 Dolphin Road, Waukesha; 1126 S. 70th St., Ste. N301B, Milwaukee

Company Web site: www.lasertagadventure.com and www.consult-cts.com

Industry: Entertainment and IT Consulting

Number of employees: 19 and 10

Your education: Bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a master’s degree from Marquette University. 

Family: Wife, Amy Mann, owner and vice president of human resources and guest services; and sons, Willie Mann and David Mann, who also are involved with the companies.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We believe starting Lasertag Adventure was our best decision thus far. From the time brainstorming began to the project’s actual completion will be almost a full year. As part of the process, we underwent a thorough review of existing businesses in this space to determine the basic economics of laser tag and developed a complete business plan down to the customer experience. We made our final decision with confidence that Lasertag Adventure would be in the best interests of our family and could be accomplished while maintaining the same level of commitment to CTS.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in  your company in the next year?

“A project of this scope has required significant capital investment – especially since my wife and I are the only investors. We expect to inject additional capital into the business in order to keep the experience fresh as we move through the years. A staff of 16 people has been hired, ranging from a full-time manager who is responsible for customer satisfaction to several motivated and enthusiastic college and high school age team members.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Our main challenge will be penetrating the southeastern Wisconsin entertainment market. People have played laser tag, but our venue takes it to the next level. We need residents to know that Lasertag Adventure is unlike any opportunity in the state.” 

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“A fully themed environment where the customer escapes their pressure filled world and is immersed in another world. We are aiming for a ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ or ‘Tomb Raider’ experience. Also, the sophistication of the actual laser tag equipment and software supporting many different game formats has improved dramatically.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Create customer enthusiasm. We are a team.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I have been fortunate to learn from a number of role models in my life that have shaped my outlook on conducting business. Working in my grandparents’ restaurant in Darien, Wis. (Tthe Colonial Club), starting at the age of 10, instilled the principle of hard work.  Also, I have always admired my father’s commitment to his job. But what I also learned from my family was that serving others makes a difference. My father served on local city council and my grandparents raised funds for their local fire department. I try to serve my customers in a way that would make them all proud.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“While I can assure you I have received a plethora of great advice over the years, one piece from my wife’s grandfather sticks out. He always described the relationship he had with physical laborers in their fishery in Virginia by saying, ‘They worked with me, not for me.’ I have always tried to treat my direct reports in such a way that we could say we worked together.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Fortunately, Lasertag Adventure is an opportunity to combine work, play and spending time with my family. I, of course, love the Badgers and Packers, so I intend on taking breaks from the action at Lasertag Adventure to catch games on the 50-inch HD plasmas.”

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.